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Preparing For A Career Discussion With Your Manager

Posted by: Matt


The annual performance review is an apprehensive time for any employee, but it also represents an opportunity to take stock of your career thus far and set new goals for the future.

To help you prepare for the next one, we’ve assembled a few key questions, and how to go about answering them. Keep your anxiety to a minimum by preparing thoroughly, and consider the following:

How Should I Prepare?

Make a list of your responsibilities. Write your own performance review relating to each area of responsibility. Honest contemplation of your achievements over the past year will prevent you from responding emotionally to criticism. Anticipate the negative feedback you could receive and you’ll demonstrate a highly-valued quality: self-awareness. Write down the career goals you’d like to achieve over the next 12 months, and frame them in relation to the future growth of the company, not just your own personal growth.

 Should I Ask for a Pay Rise?

A review can be a good time to ask for more compensation but, again, this should be raised in the context of you bringing added value to the company. Do you have a specific project in mind that could revitalise your department? Do you want to assume more managerial responsibility? Don’t ask for a higher salary just because you need the money. Use the positive outcomes of your career discussion as leverage, and be fully prepared for your employer to refuse a pay rise.

What if I’m Surprised by Negative Feedback?

If you’ve given your performance an honest appraisal you should avoid any nasty surprises. But some bosses are overly critical or may not aware of the extent of your positive achievements. The most important thing when faced with unexpected criticism is to avoid defensiveness. Even if your manager is being unnecessarily aggressive with their negative feedback, avoiding confrontation and keeping a cool head is of paramount importance. If you receive general criticism you feel is unwarranted, ask them to clarify their position with specific examples. You may be genuinely unaware of something you do that rubs people up the wrong way, so be open to that possibility, ask for advice on how to improve and suggest a further review in three months time. Oh, and if your review goes unexpectedly badly, don’t ask for a pay rise at the end of it!

 What am I Prepared to Do Over the Next Year?

It’s all very well angling for more money by making bold pledges, but it will reflect poorly on you if you can’t realise those aims. Create a specific action plan with tactical objectives you can realistically fulfill. Be optimistic, but don’t let your enthusiasm exceed your wherewithal.

 Matt is a Director of The Talent Hive and leads the Engineering recruitment practice within the business. Originally from the UK he’s been living in New Zealand for 11 years. Matt is a retired ‘amateur’ athlete who has given up chasing great marathon times for chasing his young children around the park, a far more worthy (if not exhausting) pursuit.

At The Talent Hive we specialise in connecting IT & Engineering professionals with the right career opportunities. We encourage collaboration, socialising your success and sharing industry insight and expertise. Start the journey, connect with The Talent Hive today.


Categorised as: Career Development